Our man on the inside
College staff are famed for complaining about their pay and their hard lot in life. But have they ever stopped to think of those who have to suffer real hardships?
FErret is referring, of course, to our brave MPs. For years they tried to hide their suffering - too proud to accept our pity - but as we all now know, their secret came out this year.
Some had to survive with just one duck island, a small moat, a 40-inch flat-screen TV and a couple of porn movies. (Has anyone done this to the tune of The Twelve Days Of Christmas yet?) No wonder they have been lobbying for a pay rise.
Amazingly, despite these privations, there is no shortage of self- sacrificing volunteers. When Elliot Morley, MP for Scunthorpe, announced he would be quitting after claiming for a mortgage he had paid off - he says he spotted the error and gave the cash back - Labour ended up with a "short" list of 32 potential candidates.
Among them is Nic Dakin, principal of sixth form John Leggott College, who is prepared to put aside his salary of more than pound;90,000 for the sackcloth and ashes of the High Court of Parliament.
FErret wishes Nic good luck - he has already won a local paper poll of the candidates - and would very much like to see someone representing colleges from the green benches. After all, if there is one part of the country that could do with a principal's tight hold on the purse strings, it is Westminster.
Flight of fancy
Sad news from Oaklands College, where a much-loved campus figure has gone missing, amid fears of a kidnap. Dusky the barn owl disappeared from her aviary, which had its lock removed, prompting fears of, er, fowl play.
FErret hopes that the forces of justice will swoop down on these yobs who couldn't give two hoots for the law, and expects to see them up before the beak in no time.